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I heard through the grapevine that WINS was going to be phased out / not supported officially from Microsoft any more [ and yet they have it in Windows server 2008 ]. I can't find any information about this on the web. Does anyone know of this rumor and/or have an official release from Mircosoft (URL?)? ( This question relates to Policy - large corporate networks)

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You should look into using GLOBALNAMES zones to phase out WINS. (If you only need a small number of records) – HostBits Jan 11 '12 at 22:17
side note: we are using ipv4, not ipv6 on a massive network. (windows 7 domain) – Zero Stack Jan 11 '12 at 22:29
Define "massive". And it shouldn't matter what IP version you're using. – MDMarra Jan 11 '12 at 22:31
Set WINS on fire. Please use DNS, ensuring that your internal domain name is in the DNS search path of your clients and servers (Which is configurable via GPO and most DHCP providers.) – gWaldo Jan 11 '12 at 23:36
@EvanAnderson - it's just professional hate; it was designed with assumptions in mind that didn't prove to be valid for very long (Workgroups). The fact that you can have separate 'phonebooks' with conflicting information is awful. I can accept the need for a truly legacy app, but only with the barest of grudgingliness (It's a word now...). But if anyone tried to put in something new that requires WINS... – gWaldo Jan 12 '12 at 0:58
up vote 9 down vote accepted

The WINS server is a shipping part of current Windows Server versions. It's "supported" by Microsoft.

WINS is a necessary evil because there are still applications out there (and bits of Windows, though increasing less with newer releases of Windows) that rely on NetBIOS name resolution. If you are one of the lucky people who have no applications that need NetBIOS name resolution go ahead and disable NetBIOS and run w/o WINS. On the other hand, if you still need NetBIOS then you really should be using WINS to cut down on broadcast traffic and to make NetBIOS name resolution reliable. You should also be setting your clients to "H-node" type name resolution (or, if you want no broadcast resolution at all "P-node") and specifying WINS servers as part of their static or DHCP-provided configuration.

Your comment to @MDMarra leads me to believe that your disk imaging application uses NetBIOS name resolution. In that case you're stuck needing a WINS server. I wouldn't get too hung-up on it. The WINS Server consumes few server resources and the replication can be tuned so that it isn't a bandwidth hog.

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Microsoft has to support it as it is a freely installable role on their currently supported server platform. They will support it as long as they support OSes that they distribute it with.

That said, for the good of all mankind, please use DNS instead.

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DNS absolutely handles dynamic IPs. I'm not sure what dynamic IPs have to do with imaging in the way that you're describing, but most imaging tools have load-balancing functionality built-in. – MDMarra Jan 11 '12 at 22:28
@MDMarra: It sounds like Foxtrot is using an application that relies on NetBIOS name resolution in order to resolve names. In that case he really does need WINS. – Evan Anderson Jan 11 '12 at 22:32
@Foxtrot A quick search on DNS would've clearly shown what DNS supports or doesn't. You seem to rely too much on what you hear, and not what you research. – HostBits Jan 11 '12 at 22:32
@EvanAnderson I'm not aware on any remotely modern imaging solutions that require NetBIOS name resolution. Without more details I'd say it's a toss-up between some funky legacy situation like you describe and the OP just having bad info about DNS or his imaging solution. – MDMarra Jan 11 '12 at 22:34
@MDMarra: Older versions of Symantec Ghost use NetBIOS to resolve "Ghostcast" session names. I'm using years-old versions of Ghost in a couple of Customer sites with modern Windows versions w/ success. Given the up front CAPEX the Customers put into licensing Ghost I'm inclined to make it work (i.e. give it NetBIOS resolution) versus making them buy something newer (and to allow them to continue to leverage their familiarity with the product and the years of old images they've built up). – Evan Anderson Jan 11 '12 at 22:37

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